Advances in drone technology are providing new techniques in research to many not-for-profits these days, and with those advances, invaluable data and insights. However as with any new technology, the ability of nonprofits to meet the high costs of accessing that technology and software associated with it is not always within reach.
An new initiative has been spearheaded that helps communities and causes access drone technology in a new way; with people power.
With the launch today of a new program that will give nonprofits the power to request and view aerial imagery on-demand, Hangar Technology, Inc., are bringing scalable 4D visual insights to the people, by the people.
The program, which is called Hangar OnDemand for Communities, intends to harness the enthusiasm of the public drone community, by contributing content through a mobile application that will ensure consistency while automating the process of flight logistics and aerial capture from start to finish.
The open end-to-end platform is available to members of the public who own a DJI drone, allowing them to do their bit by becoming a Hangar OnDemand for Communities contributor and supporting nonprofits worldwide.
There are already several early adopters of the program offered by Hangar OnDemand for Communities, including nonprofits such as Trust for Public Lands, Scholar Farms, and emergency agencies like NOAA.
“Drones are a transformative tool for repeated measures and the capture of time-series data, whether that is for scientific research, infrastructure inspection, or disaster recovery,” says Dr. Greg Crutsinger, Founder of Scholar Farms. “The Hangar app makes this repeated process seamless through simple flight plans, flexible scheduling for pilots, and rapid capture. The 360 results are both intuitive for scene awareness and informative to take action.”
The University of California Berkley’s Nature Reserve System (UCNRS) recently undertook a use-case study which they have now shared with the public to highlight the benefits of the program. Known as the California Heartbeat Initiative, the study hopes to better understand the freshwater reserves of California.
The reserve system consists of nearly 40 regions throughout California that represents a wide range of habitats and over 750,000 acres. Collection of data by scientist throughout the system is often not done in a way that is consistent, something that Todd Dawson, professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, can see the program will help to resolve these problems.
In a video made for the UCNRS regarding the Hangars OnDemand involvement, Dawson highlights the difficulty associated with non-standardised data collection. “If someone is collecting there date in a very different way than me, then is it really comparable? The issue not having standardised data really then provides a massive challenge for how we go about constructing a management policy,” he said.
Crutsinger, who directs consulting and training services for Scholar Farms, in particular with regards to drone vegetation and aerial drone mapping, said, “There is a lot of noise in the drone industry at the moment. That noise comes in from the operator, it comes in at the mission planning side and it comes in at the data management side, and what Hanger allows is you to cut through that noise.”
Hangar OnDemand for Communities promises to deliver “new levels of speed, agility, perspective and awareness to nonprofits in their missions to save lives, support conservation, measure change or validate a cause.” However the program hangs on the level of public engagement, something that Jeff DeCoux, Founder and CEO of Hangar, doesn’t see as a hurdle.
The main hurdle was creating a platform that brings the DJI-owning public, the nonprofits, and the software together – and it’s now available on Apple iTunes Store.
“Despite a willingness of drone volunteers to contribute to nonprofit organizations, the financial and resource investment required to build and maintain a drone program remains prohibitive,” says Jeff DeCoux, Founder and CEO of Hangar. “This platform gives nonprofits a technological advantage, delivering critical automation and infrastructure to any nonprofit hoping to gain a new degree of situational awareness through a low-effort and sustainable drone program.”